The Birth of Digital Poetry

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

An English professor rediscovered how some of the best poets in the world were coding poetry algorithms in the 1960s Photo: Micheline Pelletier Decaux/Getty Images Photo: Micheline Pelletier Decaux/Getty Images Programmer Poet: Acclaimed author J.M. Coetzee developed software for composing verse on an early British supercomputer. When we think of people who probe the historical uses of technology, English professors don’t usually spring to mind. But Rebecca Roach, a postdoctoral researcher in modern literature at Kings College London, did just that […]

MIT’s Super-Efficient Dispatching Algorithm Minimizes a City’s Taxi Fleet

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

An app-based algorithm could cut Manhattan’s cab population by nearly a third Photo: iStockphoto Researchers at MIT say they’ve found an efficient dispatching algorithm that can cut a city’s fleet of taxis by 30 percent. They describe their work in a paper published today in Nature. “New York would need 30 percent fewer vehicles if the taxi fleet, even with human drivers, is managed better,” Carlo Ratti, the director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab tells IEEE Spectrum. That’s a big savings, both in taxis […]

Technicians and Engineers @ CERN: Working in a Place Like Nowhere Else on Earth

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research is one of the largest scientific experiments in the world. When you think of CERN, what comes to mind? The Large Hadron Collider. The Higgs Boson’s discovery in 2012. An amazing scientific endeavor bringing together physicists and engineers from all over the world to work towards a common goal: to probe the fundamental structure of the universe. But not necessarily of just how important technicians are for this incredible scientific endeavour. CERN, the […]

3 Obstacles to Moving Social Media Platforms to a Blockchain

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

Taiwan’s PTT bulletin board system sees distributed ledgers as key to its future Photo: iStockphoto On average, there about 10 million active sessions a day on Taiwan’s version of reddit, a 25-or-so-year-old bulletin board system called PTT. That’s a respectable number considering Taiwan’s total population is 24 million. But lately the platform has been hit with many of the same problems that have muddied other social media sites—and now, its leaders are taking extreme measures to wipe it clean. Last […]

Rooftop Solar Takes Hold in Iraq in the Aftermath of ISIS

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

Home and shop owners in Iraq are installing solar arrays to smooth power outages Photo: Peter Fairley Photo: Peter Fairley Power Up: This shop is one of a growing number of small businesses in Iraq that now focus on renewable energy installations. The souk, or marketplace, keeps buzzing in Sulaimani, a provincial capital in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, even though the national power grid has just gone off-line. Merchants like Mohamad Romie emerge from shops to fire up their generators […]

“You’ve Got Mail!” for the 19th Century

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

As mailboxes proliferated, inventors rushed to devise electrically enhanced versions Photo: National Postal Museum/Smithsonian Institution Photo: National Postal Museum/Smithsonian Institution During the 1870s and ’80s, inventors filed more than a dozen patent applications in the United States for electrical improvements to letter boxes. But why did mailboxes and letter slots, surely among the simplest mechanical devices, have to be electrified? It was primarily a matter of convenience, for people who wanted to know exactly when the mail had arrived and […]

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Dealmaster: Memorial Day sales on TVs, laptops, and more are underway [Updated]

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

Update (5/28/2018 1:45 PM ET): We’ve made one last sweep through our deals list and included new discounts on LG OLED TVs, Tile Bluetooth trackers, Dell monitors, and more. We’ve also removed a few expired deals. The original article is below. Original post: Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. It’s almost Memorial Day weekend, and though the Dealmaster plans to spend plenty of time this weekend grilling and lounging outside, he’s […]

From Win32 to Cocoa: A Windows user’s would-be conversion to Mac OS X, part III

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

So… Peter Bright’s new home for tech support, right? (credit: antxoa) Ten years ago around this very time—April through June 2008—our intrepid Microsoft guru Peter Bright evidently had an identity crisis. Could this lifelong PC user really have been pushed to the brink? Was he considering a switch to… Mac OS?!? While our staff hopefully enjoys a less stressful Memorial Day this year, throughout the weekend we’re resurfacing this three part series that doubles as an existential operating system dilemma […]

Op-ed: Game companies need to cut the crap—loot boxes are obviously gambling

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

Enlarge / Roulette is a particularly silly form of gambling. (credit: Yuki Shimazu / Flickr) Game companies now lean heavily on loot boxes to monetize their products. Legislators around the world are threatening to impose regulations on the boxes, claiming that they’re gambling. Industry groups, however, insist that the boxes are not. I play games that are funded with loot boxes. My favorite game of all time, Dota 2, is funded almost exclusively through loot boxes. Regulations that tightly restrict or […]

How to review your life’s Amazon buying history—and what we learned from our own

May 29, 2018 Editor 0

Enlarge (credit: Amazon) Ahead of the United States’ Memorial Day weekend, Ars staffers were milling about the virtual water cooler when someone happened upon some intriguing data: their personal Amazon shopping history. This spreadsheet, which consisted of years of purchases and thousands of dollars of receipts, was easy to compile within the Amazon account interface, and it fit nicely into that day’s chatter about other companies’ issues with data privacy and GDPR compliance. So, for funsies, a bunch of us […]